Duterte to recall cops to fight war on drugs

MANILA • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday that he would recall some police to fight his controversial war on drugs, nearly a month after suspending the entire force from all operations in the narcotics crackdown.

In an about-turn on his decision to remove the 160,000-member Philippine National Police (PNP) from his signature campaign, Mr Duterte said he needed more manpower to sustain the crackdown on drugs.

He told reporters: "So, I need more men. I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time on drugs."

Mr Duterte has been scathing in his criticism of a police force he declared "corrupt to the core", after it was discovered that rogue drug squad officers had kidnapped and killed a South Korean businessman at the PNP headquarters.

More than 7,700 people have been killed since his first day in office, about 2,555 in operations in which police said drug suspects resisted arrest.

Since the Jan 30 police suspension, the drug trade has come back out of the shadows, according to more than half a dozen drug users and dealers in some of Manila's toughest areas.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which has only 1,800 members, would lead the anti-drug campaign, with the support of the military and PNP.

Mr Duterte said the police would no longer conduct their own operations under his revised strategy.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Duterte to recall cops to fight war on drugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe